A Washington County motorist has been charged with several crimes in a road rage incident where he allegedly drove within inches of Olympic champion skier Jessie Diggins during a training session along a rural stretch of road near her Afton home.
George G. Frost, 37, of St. Marys Point, was charged Friday in District Court with misdemeanor counts of assault, reckless driving, careless driving, disorderly conduct and nuisance on a public roadway in connection with his encounter with Diggins and training partner Kris Hansen on Oct. 28.
“The very unfortunate incident this past weekend is completely unacceptable behavior and we have zero tolerance for this type of aggressive, threatening, and dangerous behavior,” City Administrator Ron Moorse said in a statement Friday.
Frost, who was charged by summons, has not returned messages seeking his response to the allegations. He has a court hearing scheduled for Dec. 11.
Reacting to the news of charges being filed, Diggins said, “This is a great reminder for everyone to be mindful of safety and be kind to each other.”
Moorse said it’s “fortunate this time that it involved two adults who knew what to do and handled it as best as could be expected. But … we have to recognize that this could just as easily have happened to the younger people, junior and senior high students, who also train here.”
Diggins said in a blog post last week that she and Hansen, her Stillwater High School coach, were roller-skiing single file and left plenty of room for any approaching vehicle when an SUV “buzzed us so close that I was rocked sideways from the wind.”
In an interview last week with the Star Tribune, Diggins said Frost “could have killed us. … You can’t take it back, a moment of road rage.”
What unfolded on westbound 15th Street S. roughly a third of the way into a 3¼-hour workout, the 27-year-old cross-country gold medalist wrote on her blog, was “the most incredible display of aggressive bullying and ‘I’m bigger than you and I’m in [an] SUV so I’m going to harass you’ that I’ve ever seen in person.”
Diggins said that after the SUV passed them, it stopped on the straight stretch of road with a hill ahead in the distance.
“We tried to ski by him, he kept driving on the right side of the road so that we were forced to the middle of the road,” she continued. “When we sped up, he sped up. When we slowed down, he came to a stop, blocking us from getting back to the side of the road.
“I knocked on the window a few times shouting that he was going to get us killed, and he flipped me the finger and turned the music up.”
Diggins wrote that “if that guy had been 6 inches closer to us, we would be in the hospital or dead.”
Hansen said Monday that more important than Frost being charged “is that the driver was made aware of the risk he caused to us as legitimate road users.”
The criminal complaint against Frost echoed Diggins’ account of the encounter and also includes him denying that he drove too close to the roller-skiers.
However, he also explained to a sheriff’s deputy that he was upset with them for roller-skiing in the road because when he was a kid law enforcement “harassed [him] for skateboarding in the area,” the charges read.
Frost acknowledged giving Diggins and Hansen the middle finger during the incident, thinking they were men.